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Poker Life: Why learning how to play Poker always trumps cheating

Fri, Aug 4, 7:13am by Poker Guru

There is a famous cheating story from the days of the Wild West. I think it’s from a movie but it’s a good story. Table stakes did not apply at the time which meant that a player could bring more money to the table at any time, and that if someone bet more than you had in front of you, you could not call “all-in”.

That concept did not exist yet. You would have to bring more money somehow or fold. Nowadays it is hard to imagine playing poker with these weird rules but I guess the Wild West was a tough place in many ways.

Anyway, two players are playing five-card draw at the local saloon. Let us call them Bad Guy and Hero. After the draw, it appears both players are holding strong hands and they raise and reraise each other.

In the end, Bad Guy makes such a big raise that Hero does not have enough money to call. Hero asks for time to get more money and goes to the bank across the street to ask for a loan.

He comes back with the bank manager and shows him his cards, and apparently impressed with the strength of the hand the bank manager gives him a big loan.

Hero then makes a big reraise and Bad Guy throws away his hand. Who can beat a hand which is good enough to get a loan? Of course, it was a bluff and the bank manager was in on it.

Was this cheating or was it just a good bluff? Collusion is cheating but does it count if your colluder is not playing? Either way it is a good story.

There are numerous stories about marked cards. Some players have marked cards with invisible ink and then wear special glasses to be able to see the marks. That is pretty advanced cheating.

Suppose you mark all the aces and the kings in the deck and know who is holding aces or kings. Then you know whom and when to bluff.

I am sure collusion is pretty common too but I also think that it requires a lot of skill to do it properly. Why not invest that energy into becoming a good poker player and win the money fair and square?

One of my favourite poker quotes is from the movie “The Sting”. It is a great money and a great poker scene at a train where Paul Newman’s character cheats the bad guy.

The bad guy who then loses the pot was also cheating and afterwards he complains to his goons: “What should I do? Accuse him of cheating better than me?”

I love that quote. If you are going to cheat in poker or anything else, expect to be cheated yourself. And don’t complain about it.

But really, instead of learning how to cheat, learn how to play winning poker.

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